Microbiology Today May 2002

The great diversity and adaptability of microbes can be exploited to our benefit by scientists. Kristien Mortelmans summarizes the ways in which micro-organisms can be put to work in her introduction to this issue on applied microbiology. Extremophiles have adapted to live in harsh environments, such as hot springs, polar zones and salt lakes. David Lloyd describes some of these fascinating microbes and the metabolism which allows them to survive, before exploring the potential applications of the enzymes they produce. Bacterial cells can be used as protein 'factories' and David Summers reports on his group's development of a novel cell expression system with commercial potential. Industry is already using microbial polysaccharides in a wide range of products, such as foods and cosmetics, as Ian Sutherland describes. Microbes can be harnessed to clean up pollution. One application is to remove explosives from contaminated land, as shown by Elaine Boyd and Neil Bruce . Other microbiologists are using bacteria in the bioremediation of metals in different ways as described by Jonathan Lloyd and Victoria Baxter-Plant and co-authors . The controversy about the triple MMR vaccine continues to dominate the headlines. We take a look at the background to this issue in Comment . Other subjects featured include activities and reports on overseas initiatives carried out by SGM members.


Hot off the Press [Acrobat PDF] highlights some new developments in microbiological research published in the Society's journals - Microbiology, Journal of General Virology and International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology. Topics covered include:
  • AIDS - does HIV-2 hold the key to understanding HIV-1?
  • Novel Rhodococcus species from medieval Czech grave
  • Charcoal keeps coils in culture - summary
  • Prion-like proteins in Saccharomyces and Candida
  • Something in the air
  • Novel virus may hamper use of a TB vaccine for badgers
  • An extraordinary new species from the canals of Venice
  • Friendly gut bug produces killer protein

Other items include:

  • Going Public [Acrobat PDF] - Projecting microbiology to primary schools; Practical microbiology course for post-16 students on Merseyside
  • Gradline [Acrobat PDF] - Promega Young Life Scientist of the Year
  • SchoolZone [Acrobat PDF] - Vocational GCSEs

Last updated 29 May 2003